I cannot believe that it’s been a whole year since this labor of love went live. One year ago, I decided to take the plunge and start blogging for myself (if you don’t know much about me, click here). It has been hard and frustrating at times, but it has also been an incredible ride. So at this one year mark, I find myself looking back on some of the things I have learned on this blogging journey. To the aspiring bloggers I can only say, just do it! You won’t regret it. Here are some things I discovered along the way.
I have a lot of opinions and some of them are quite unpopular (this post really got people going). I’ve written some posts that have ruffled many feathers out there. Instead of moderating my thoughts to suit the masses, I found that it was important to assert myself on the issues that are near and dear to my heart (like this). As an educator, I am always thinking about the ways kids grow and develop. I am always looking for the ways that I can help my daughter improve with the foundations I have set for her. So even if it’s not a popular or easy solution, many of the posts I write delve into those issues. Authenticity is paramount in helping people understand the long term effects of their parenting. If you have something to say, then say it. Say it with conviction and as long as you are not actively seeking to discredit or harm someone else, the world wants to hear your perspective and wisdom. You are the only one with your voice.
Support doesn’t come the way you expect it to
You might start blogging and assume that many of your friends and family will engage consistently with your posts. They won’t. And it’s okay. If you’re being authentic, you can expect that many of the people with whom you socialize do not share your opinions on everything. Don’t take it personally. Understand that having friends and family to support you may not take the form of likes, comments and shares. It may be much more like a lunch date or a hug and checking in when you are stressed or overwhelmed about blogging. However, the support will come in the form of fellow bloggers and influencers who can actually empathize with your struggles. They will understand when you feel discouraged. They will like and share your posts and they will continue to offer their support when the going gets rough. You will be so thankful for the little communities you have built out there in cyberspace. Trust me.
Progress is progress
Some days you are going to look at your page views and be on top of the world (this post was a favorite). A week later those numbers may look wildly different. You are going to have bad days on social media. There will be posts that you expected would take off and they don’t. When I look at the sheer number of posts I have written over the past year, I feel accomplished. I even had some friends write some wonderful posts for me like this one and this one. Sure, my Instagram following isn’t a million, but it isn’t where it was when I started. No matter how small your progress seems to be, recognize that you are moving forward. Set goals for yourself and track them. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish in a small amount of time. Don’t forget to give yourself credit. If you gain even one follower on Facebook, that is progress. Recognize each baby step!
Find that balance
It’s easy to feel like you have to do everything like right this minute today. You don’t. When I started out I was working two part time jobs, trying to be home as much as possible and write a blog. All this does not happen with much effort and lack of sleep. While I am not telling you to ignore everything and take a nap, I am saying to stay focused and prioritize. Maybe you will focus on getting a certain number of posts out each week. You might pick a social media platform to channel all of your energy towards. All of this is okay. It takes time to build a following. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Pick your focus and do it well. When you have more time (ha, just kidding, we are moms) funnel some into your blogging.
It’s so easy to want to give up. There were so many times that I wanted to give up and I didn’t. So many times I just wanted to take a long break from writing, but I didn’t. If you want people to stay engaged with what you are doing, you have to be consistent. This doesn’t mean that you have to post five times a week, but it does mean that you have to have some kind of schedule. Some bloggers don’t write for months at a time. When that happens, you have to start everything up all over again. It’s definitely better to post once a week then post five times a week for a time and then disappear. Remember that those small, consistent efforts will pay off. Don’t let a bad mood or discouragement interfere with saying what you have to say!
There are probably a million other lessons I have learned over this past year, but these are the ones that stand out. You can do this! I’m looking forward to seeing you out there in cyberspace.
Mom, wife, educator, and loyal friend. Passionate about all things reading and writing. Sharing parenting tips with an educator’s lens.